Strong earnings from tech stock Apple and other U.S. companies helped lift global stocks on Wednesday, boosting tech-heavy markets in Asia and feeding optimism about the global economic recovery.
European shares rose on opening, tracking gains in the U.S. and Japan, although Greece remained in focus with the start of 10 days of talks on the belt-tightening measures the country must take until 2012.
This would pave the way for the swift payout of up to 30 billion euros ($40.33 billion) of emergency aid if Athens asks for it.
Apple's expectation-beating results on Tuesday backed views that consumer demand is recovering. This helped lift Japan, Taiwan and South Korea equities, with chip-related shares such as Toshiba Corp gaining.
The Apple results followed robust earnings from Goldman Sachs, now at the center of regulatory probes by both the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the UK's Financial Services Authority..
Sentiment is getting better again following good results, but investors will keep an eye on some other important things such as U.S. jobless claims data on Thursday, said Koen De Leus, economist at KBC Securities.
MSCI's all-country world index was up 0.2 percent, with its more volatile emerging market component up 0.7 percent.
In Europe, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 advanced slightly in early trades, up 0.2 percent.
Earlier, in Japan, the Nikkei closed up 1.74 percent, with buying by overseas traders, including European investors, helping the index claw above resistance at 11,068, its 25-day moving average, traders said.
YEN SLIPS, LOONIE CLIMBS
The low-yielding yen slipped as the gains in global equity markets fed a rebound in demand for riskier assets, while the Canadian dollar, or loonie, climbed to its highest level in nearly two years.
This followed an indication from the Bank of Canada that an interest rate rise may come as early as June.
The euro traded close to a two-week low after Greek borrowing costs hit a twelve-year high on Tuesday as Athens prepared to start talks on an EU/IMF bailout package.
But further losses were limited as traders said a lot of the bad news had already been factored in.
The expectation that Greece will soon have to make use of the Eurogroup and IMF rescue package is almost completely priced in. The current news flow is not questioning this assumption. said analysts at Commerzbank in a note.
In fixed income markets, euro zone government bond yields edged lower.
(Additional reporting by Neal Armstrong and Atul Prakash; Editing by Toby Chopra)